Supernatural © the CW. Not mine.

AN: Not part of the Redemption series. Just some fun that came to mind this morning when I should have been studying.

Singing a Different Tune

Sam can hear him.

Even after Michael send him back, heals him, he can hear Dean and Michael talking. Arguing, actually. The voices ring in his head, clear even after he slams his hands over his ears in a desperate bid to make it stop. He hates hearing it, hates the anger and desperation in his brother's voice. He's heard it too often before.

This time, though, it's not about him.

"Time to go."

"What about Cas?"

He can almost imagine Michael smiling. He doesn't want to imagine anything. He doesn't want to hear this.

"What about him?"

"Send him back, too."

"Why should I? Castiel is a big boy – he'll find you when he wakes up."

"Dammit, I'm not leaving him here! He's hurt!"

Sam sinks to his knees, tears tracking down his face. The argument is familiar, too familiar, oh God do they have to do this again? He's praying again, the only thing he knows how to do when Dean gets that tone in his voice – when his big brother knows he's fighting a losing battle, but he can't stop fighting. Sam knows he won't shut up until Michael either gives or kills him. God, please, just send Cas back!

"Listen to me, Dean – Castiel is not my problem. He's not yours, either. He's just a little angel who doesn't know how the game is played. He's nothing."

"He's mine!"

His? His what? His friend? His angel?

His brother?

"It's time to go home, Dean."

And suddenly Dean is standing in front of him. He spins around, no doubt looking for Michael so he can strangle him – then his eyes land on Sam, and the anger and hate and fear vanish, buried too deep for Sam to see. Dean grabs Sam's shoulders and pulls him into a fierce embrace. Sam can feel Dean trembling even as he hugs him back, holding him as tightly as he can.

It takes a while for Dean to calm down. Sam suggests a drink while they wait for Cas. Dean agrees, and perhaps Sam is the only one who can hear the small tremor in his voice.

When Cas returns, exhausted to the point of collapse, Sam can only feel relief. Dean isn't the only one who's gotten more attached to the angel than he should be.

/-/

Castiel wakes in the middle of the night. His legs are no longer hanging off of the foot of the bed, nor is he still wearing his coat and tie. He's aware of warmth to his left and right, and a light pressure on his chest. Slowly, he opens his eyes.

Sam is lying to his left, his back facing Castiel and barely touching his arm, and the angel knows he's sleeping soundly. To his right is Dean, sitting with his back pressed against Castiel's hip and his hand resting lightly on his chest. He's awake and staring blankly at the wall, an unopened beer in his other hand. Castiel reaches up and gently wraps his hand around the wrist that is on his chest. He doesn't want to wake Sam, so he says nothing.

Dean's head whips around, beer and wall instantly forgotten as his eyes focus on Castiel. Many things cross his face at once, but what lingers is a relief so profound Castiel has only ever seen it in reference to Sam. To see that look directed at him – possessive protection and relief and guilt all rolled up and packed away into a man who shouldn't have to bear so much – makes Castiel's eyes widen just a bit.

He hadn't realized he meant so much to the hunter.

Dean puts down the beer and raises his now-free hand to Castiel's face, touching his neck with two fingers. Castiel smiles faintly. "I'm fine, Dean." he says, voice so quiet Dean almost doesn't hear it. Sam barely twitches, soft snores undisturbed.

"You passed out on us again – don't expect me to take your word for it." Dean whispers back, checking the angel's pulse and everything else he can while not moving from his post at the bed. Castiel tolerates the extra attention.

"How long was I out?" he asks.

"Since three in the afternoon." Dean responds tersely. "Thought you weren't breathing for a while there." He nods his head to Sam. "At least he snores when he sleeps."

Castiel nods. "I'm sor – "

"Don't apologize." Dean whispers harshly, his voice getting even quieter. "I begged Michael to bring you back with us, did everything I could, and he still left you there. The bastard." Dean looks away from him, but makes no move to stand or leave.

Suddenly Castiel understands. He tugs on Dean's wrist, forcing the man to look back at him. "I don't blame you." he says quietly. "I stuck around long enough for Michael to find me. He told me he had sent the two of you home." He smiles that tiny smile of his, and Dean smiles back. "He told me you fought with him."

"Only verbally."

"Still. It's more than most have." And for his sake, too. He squeezes Dean's wrist. "Thank you."

"Don't mention it." Dean says.

Sam shifts, the quiet voices having finally woke him up. He rolls over, almost rolling on top of Castiel, but Dean reaches out and grabs his shoulder. "Dude. You ain't alone in the bed tonight."

"That sounded vaguely wrong." Sam groans and sits up. Then he glances down at Castiel. "Cas! You're awake!"

"That much is obvious." Castiel can't get his voice to go much louder than a harsh whisper, but the small joke gets Sam to laugh.

Dean smiles at them. "Both of you, get back to sleep." he says. "We gotta check out in the morning." Sam nods, and instead of moving to the other bed, he simply settles back down and falls asleep again beside Castiel. Dean snorts. "Kid always could sleep just about anywhere." he comments with no small amount of affection. He goes to stand, but Castiel tugs on his wrist. He hasn't let go yet.

"I don't think there's a rule that says you can't share the same bed as your brother." Castiel says quietly. Dean chuckles.

"I can make it to the other bed, Cas."

Castiel smirks. "Maybe, but I'm offering. It's not like Sam's moving any time soon."

Dean chuckles. "True." He reaches out and taps Castiel's forehead. "Go to sleep."

Castiel smiles and closes his eyes. When he wakes the next morning, Dean and Sam are still on either side of him, both fast asleep.

So this is what it feels like to truly have brothers.

/-/

AN: Okay, that actually came off a bit more Destiel than I intended. Oh well. Meant to be read as brothers, but hey, read whatever you want to into it.

By the way – sisters do share beds like that. I found out you can fit three teenage girls on the same full-sized bed if we're tired enough. My sisters and I did that once, so that's where the ending scene came from. Not being a brother, I don't know if brothers would do the same thing. Hence the unintended Destiel.

Review, please!